Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Written Word

I love writing.
There is something so beautiful to me about the written word.
Words that are spoken are important for sure. But to me they are words that would normally come out of ones mouth, and then maybe fall on ears that would remember what was said for a day or two.
Maybe if the listener was really paying attention the words are ones that a person would carry for a lifetime, but often times the words we say fall on deaf ears never to be thought of again.

Ah... but the written word.
Well, that is an entirely different beast all together.

Good or bad the written words are forever held in time.
Right now I am finishing up a book club choice called People of The Book, by Geraldine Brooks
It's a fictional book about a book restorer who is working on a book that was written in the 1400's.
The book she has been commissioned to work on is an old Jewish prayer book called a Haggadah.

Anyway, the story is amazing!
The story within the story of this book is what has got my wheels turning.
She finds in her restoration process stains and marks in the book, and then has them analyzed for further clues as to where the book got it's origins. The amazing part to me is that we have books like this.
Books that have withstood the test of time.

One of my favorite older books that I own is a book called "Cooking for Two, by Janet M Hill copyright 1909.
I bought it from my neighbor June.
It has articles in the front and back about "Being a Good Housewife" or "When Mom lets us Cook" or " Some Cleaning Secrets " and all of these and her little scribbles here and there are what make the book that much more precious to me.
The story within the story.

June was an older Scottish woman who to keep her mind sharp and get some social interaction, every Saturday morning she would open up her little garage on Minnesota St. in Carson City and sell some of her treasures that she had carried for a lifetime.
I would go down every Saturday and buy only one or two things. Usually one of her salt and pepper shakers and one book.
We would talk for a bit, mostly I would ask her a lot of questions about her life and listen carefully to this very wise wonderful woman.
I miss June.
But I carry a little piece of her with me in the books that I bought from her.

I have often thought now that we have become so digital and everything is out here in cyberspace rather than on paper what treasures will be lost when we no longer have access to this.
There are ways, I know that you can turn your blog into a book and I really have thought of doing that for my children to enjoy someday.
It most certainly is a record of events.
An out loud journal of sorts.
It makes me wonder, why we all love living out loud so much?
Those of us that blog anyway.
To me its therapeutic.

When I first started blogging it was because I was a stay at home mom who desperately needed connection to the outside world.
Now I blog because I have grown to love the blogging community and the process of getting things out of my head and onto the computer screen.
I am thankful for the written word.
I am glad that there are others out there just like me who treasure it as much as I do.

For those of you who are just like me, I leave you with this the quote at the beginning of that old cookbook;

"The best things are nearest... Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life."

True, true indeed.

That and next time you are at a rummage sale, don't look over those old books. There might be a story within a story.
Oh, and when you own a book be sure to make your mark on it, who knows someday those little notes that you write down might be the very thing that makes that book so much more special to the readers of the future!

Happy Reading AND Writing Friends!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coffee Fast Is Over...

It's a funny thing, my fast from coffee ended yesterday and I think I had about 3 or 4 very good, very full cups of coffee, but here I sit today with a cup of Green Tea and one stevia. (My replacement drink of choice in the mornings)

Giving up coffee was not an easy fast for me.
I am still not entirely sure why I did it.?
I know I wanted to give up something for Lent that wouldn't have a dual purpose.
By that I mean, often times when I fast, to be quite honest I hope that it will help me lose weight.
I mean, I don't set out going "I am going to fast from sugar so I can lose weight!"
I definitely disguise my fasts with a much more spiritual expression as to why I am fasting from whatever it is.
So a true confession I am giving you here is that, when I fast from time to time to pray, seek God's wisdom, or for a friend or whatever the reason, deep down I think this will help me too!

Shocking I know, but there you have it!

But coffee never entered any of those categories.
In fact, I think I remember telling myself that I could never give up coffee.
It was like the one thing in my life I would never do.
When others would talk about not drinking coffee anymore I would actually feel bad for them.
As though they were missing out on something so precious in life, so wonderful, so essential... why would you ever give it up?

Well, here I sit on this gloriously rainy, perfect Washington morning and although I could have coffee I want Green Tea.

Huh? I didn't see that one coming!

Fasting I have learned over the years is more a matter of choice.

And how luxurious a life I lead that I GET the choice to FAST from anything!

If there is just one thing that I really took away from this Lent season it is that.
I have the choice to fast from food, drink, television, certain clothes(free trade), stores i will shop at, etc.

And what a gift that is.

Truly we (Americans especially) are saturated with choice.
It is a freedom, I know I have taken for granted over the years.

This Lent season helped me to realize that, and so much more and I am hoping I don't soon forget it.

If there is nothing else you have to be thankful, grateful for in your life today let it be that you have the choice to choose whether to drink coffee or tea, or clean water and be blessed by that alone.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Shoe Entry For Tasha

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I have been blessed with incredible friends who happen to be very creative.
They make my life so much richer, fuller, and downright fun!
One of my most creative artistic friends would be a lady named Tasha Gardner.
You can see just a portion of her creative genius in the blog listed on the right, VW club.
Anyhew, she put out this shoe challenge in March.
30 days.
30 shoes.
I didn't quite succeed, but I tried my hardest to document the shoes I did wear in that time.
And here is my entry.

If you have been a long time reader of my blog you might remember some years back when Emma and I took her color challenge. Where we were asked to wear a different color everyday.
This really was a lot of fun so thank you once again Tasha for your constant pursuit of all things out of the ordinary :)

Hope you enjoy!

LOVE WINS - Rob Bell , My Take on all this Hoop-La!

I just finished re-reading Rob Bell's new book Love Wins, A book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person who Ever Lived.

If that isn't a dramatic title for a book, I don't know what is! :)

For those of you who run in Christian circles you know that this book got quite a bit of hoop-la( I love that word) before it was even released. People were slinging all kinds of accusations toward Mr. Bell and really behaving in such a way that if you were listening and you were NOT a follower of Christ I am sure their behavior convinced you even more so, NOT to become one.

Truly it was downright appalling to me the critics reactions toward this book.

I of course put the book on order long before it was released and then read most of it the first day I got it. Then I went back over it in the weeks to follow because I kept looking for what all the hoop-la was about?

First- if you have ever read any of Bell's previous books you know that he likes to ask a lot of questions. He comes at lots of topics that are theological by nature, with kind of a scientific approach. He gets down to the root of the words that were written in Hebrew and really studies each passage from an angle that doesn't take anything for granted. I love that about his writing.

Second- I have read only two other books of his and both of them were life changing for me. They both pointed, directed, lead, and encouraged me to draw closer to the God of my youth.

C.- This book was no different. Not only did it have a lot of questions, (which btw God can handle any and all of them) but it also directed me once again to the Lover of my Soul. Frankly, it made me fall in Love with Jesus all over again.

The book is only 198 pages long.

Around page 79 he says this,

"There is hell now,
and there is hell later,
and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously."

So, for those that were claiming he says there is no hell in this book and that is why they are calling him a heretic... umm.... read pg 79 about half way down.

There are so many more quotable things in this book, but really if you are at all interested you should read it yourself.
One of my favorite questions, one that I really think is the theme of the book is this one;

"Has God created millions of people over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend eternity in anguish? Can God do this, or even allow this, and still claim to be a loving God?"

Anyone who claims to know Christ , whose sole purpose on this earth was to reconcile all of mankind to God can't answer those questions any other way.

God doesn't choose hell for us, we do.
God chose over 2000 years ago something so different for us.

Jesus whole existence here on earth was an act of LOVE.
He lived for LOVE.
Died for LOVE.
And still reaches out in LOVE.

LOVE really does win!

Saturday, April 02, 2011


I'll admit I haven't been a participator in this Lent tradition since I was a Catholic child who somewhat unwillingly participated, if at all!
I remember families giving up T.V., Sugary Treats, and a variety of other crazy talk happenings! I remember never really understanding a lot of things that were spiritual concepts back then, but one thing I did understand was that I didn't want to give up sugar right as I was selling Girl Scout cookies :)

Up until a year ago I thought the season of Lent was just another legalistic way of trying to take away from the greatest sacrifice ever made. A kind of earning your badges of being a good, better, best follower of Christ.

That was what I thought, until the church I was attending a year ago at this time had such a different take on this thing called Lent. They spoke of this time of preparation, remembering others who are suffering, sacrificing for a greater good, fasting from some things in order that other things might come in abundance, and just an over-all time to take note of your spiritual life. A time to take stock of your inventory as a Spiritual being, and prepare your house for the day of new life. New Beginnings. A kind of Spring cleaning spiritually. They inspired me to take a second look at this thing called Lent.

I remember coming home and sharing with the kids about the fact that I was inspired to do something for Lent, that it was a special time, and that I was going to give up sugar. At first they looked at me like I was crazy, eyes wide as saucers. At some point they too were all excited about this new found thing called Lent. They took an interest with mom and got on board until later that evening when Isaiah asked if he could have Hot Cocoa and I said, "Buddy that has sugar in it". He said without even a second thought, "Oh well I'm out" as though it was a game or something.
That was when I realized:
1) guess I am not that good of a teacher as I thought, and
B) it might have been too big a concept for a 5 year old to get, dunno?

So this year, I told my kids that Lent was coming, and told them what I was giving up. I gave up coffee(that's a blog post for another day), and
I didn't ask any of them if they wanted to join. But, to my surprise they all chimed in with what they were going to give up.
I think that I might have done a better job describing this Lent season to them. At least a little better than last year, because they are all still going strong with all of their fasts.(excluding Isaiah... refer to point 1. and B.)
I told them that usually people give something up, but also some people add some new good behavior or habit in place of what they gave up.

So as if I wasn't challenged enough already....

On top of participating in the traditional Lent Season of giving something up for six weeks, I had decided this year that I wanted to begin adding new challenges to my life.
The challenges I wanted to incorporate into my life are motivated by LOVE. After all, the greatest act of LOVE that the world has EVER seen is what we are preparing to remember and celebrate so what better time than this to take these; LOVE challenges.

Instead of doing this all at once, I have been giving myself one week challenges.
To me it seems more attainable to do things in one week increments.
Once one week is over if I have accomplished these goals and feel inspired to keep going with them, I do.
And then I add a new challenge.

There are about 3 weeks to go until Easter Sunday, and I can honestly say that this Lent season for me has already been pretty amazing. I have learned a lot about myself and what motivates me. I would like to think I am learning even more about this amazing God that I get to serve. I hope and pray that eventually I will be able to describe/teach about this Lent season thingy in such a way that even Isaiah will whole-heartedly get on board, but until then as I am learning I am confident that one day he will too. Because isn't it so true that you can't really teach something to another person unless you fully, completely, whole-heartedly get it yourself?
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